Massachusetts expands ban on the disposal of organic waste

By expanding the state ban on organic waste, Massachusetts addresses low hanging fruit in the waste stream.

Peter Wendt | Public Domain
Vegetables lying on a table.

The state of Massachusetts has in recent years taken significant steps to reduce state-wide food waste. In October 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection banned the disposal of organic waste by businesses that produce one ton or more of organic waste per week. As of November 1, 2022, this ban was expanded to include institutions that produce a half-ton or more of organic waste weekly. The ban has also been expanded so that mattresses and textiles are now on the list of items banned from disposal. This policy will help Massachusetts reach its goal of reducing statewide waste disposal by 30% by 2030. 

The state has encouraged institutions to adopt green strategies to dispose of unwanted food, and has provided grants to support innovative approaches to tackling food waste. The state recommends that unspoiled food be redirected and donated to local food banks which helps support people in need as well as reducing food waste. Massachusetts also recommends that institutions dispose of inedible organic waste through off-site generators that accept food materials for large-scale composting and anaerobic digestion

The actions taken by this state set an example for the rest of the country. By leading the way, Massachusetts is making it easier for other states to follow suit.

Orion Goodemote

Food Waste Intern, PIRG Education Fund

Danielle Melgar

Former Food & Agriculture, Advocate, PIRG


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